There is so much to consider in the college planning process. One key factor is the high school classes that you take. When making class schedules for the next year, I am frequently asked just how important AP classes are when it comes to college admissions. The relevancy of taking AP classes really comes down to the colleges to which you will be applying and how those courses connect with you as a student. Read on for a deeper explanation.
How Important Are AP Classes for College Admission
Whether You Should Take a Specific AP Class
Let me first say that you need to take courses that challenge you but are not overly rigorous. There is no point in taking a class in which you would struggle just so you can say that you have taken the class. A poor or so-so grade in an AP class is not better than a good grade in a non-AP class. I have worked with many students who don’t take many, or any, AP classes at all and they got admitted into wonderful schools that are great fits for them and that provide them with a great education. So, taking a specific AP class was not an important admissions deciding factor.
Often students will ask, “Shouldn’t I take this AP class?” when they haven’t taken any other AP classes in their high school curriculum. We talk about the class itself to decide if they should or shouldn’t take it. Let’s say it is a student who is not very good at math, that it is not their strongest subject, and they are trying to decide if they should take AP Calculus. I am concerned that this student would struggle in such a class and would advise against it because it is extremely likely that the student would not get a good grade. You need to determine if the AP class is a good fit both in terms of interest and capabilities.
Are Colleges Looking for Specific AP Classes?
When it comes to considering AP courses, it is not about colleges looking for a specific set of AP courses on your transcript. One class is not going to make all the difference in whether you are admitted. When you are considering the highest and most selective colleges in the United States, of course rigor is important, but that is still only as it relates to the student and who they are – their interests and what they are capable of doing.
The Importance of AP Classes Takeaway:
It is important to understand that there are plenty of colleges – there is not just one college that is right for you. You need to be who you are and do what works for you. So, it’s not about saying that AP classes are so important for college admissions – that is way too general of a statement and absolutely not the case. Carefully weigh if taking a specific AP class matches your abilities and interests.
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